# FPT-algorithms for computing Gromov-Hausdorff and interleaving distances between trees

Gromov-Hausdorff (GH) distance is a natural way to measure the distortion between two metric spaces. However, there has been only limited algorithmic development to compute or approximate this distance. We focus on computing the Gromov-Hausdorff distance between two metric trees. Roughly speaking, a metric tree is a metric space that can be realized by the shortest path metric on a tree. Previously, Agarwal et al. showed that even for trees with unit edge length, it is NP hard to approximate the GH distance between them within a factor of 3. In this paper, we present a fixed-parameter tractable (FPT) algorithm that can approximate the GH distance between two general metric trees within a factor of 14. Interestingly, the development of our algorithm is made possible by a connection between the GH distance for metric trees and the interleaving distance for the so-called merge trees. The merge trees arise in practice naturally as a simple yet meaningful topological summary, and are of independent interest. It turns out that an exact or approximation algorithm for the interleaving distance leads to an approximation algorithm for the Gromov-Hausdorff distance. One of the key contributions of our work is that we re-define the interleaving distance in a way that makes it easier to develop dynamic programming approaches to compute it. We then present a FPT algorithm to compute the interleaving distance between two merge trees exactly, which ultimately leads to an FPT-algorithm to approximate the GH distance between two metric trees. This exact FPT-algorithm to compute the interleaving distance between merge trees is of interest itself, as it is known that it is NP-hard to approximate it within a factor of 3, and previously the best known algorithm has an approximation factor of O(√(n)) even for trees with unit edge length.

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